18th September 2020 — Two Malvern St James Girls’ School pupils have won the prestigious Bristol ChemLabS Open Laboratories Competition.
The competition, open to schools across the UK, involved small teams of Year 12 students interrogating the UK Air Data Archive produced by DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). Their task was to investigate aspects of how air quality has been affected by the Covid lockdown.
The two girls Tina and Yue, both A Level scientists, noticed that at the monitoring station in Marylebone, whilst the concentration of most pollutants had fallen, the concentration of ground-level ozone had increased. Their research answered the question: How does lockdown affect the concentration of ground-level ozone in urban traffic areas?
They concluded that even though lockdown seemed to improve the air quality in the UK from many aspects as it led to the decrease in the concentration of vehicle exhausts including nitric oxide and nitrogen oxides. This resulted in an increase in the concentration of ground-level ozone, another pollutant.
As part of their prize the girls will receive £100 to share which will be presented at a lecture-demonstration at Malvern St James, hosted by Tim Harrison, FRSC, Director of Outreach at Bristol University’s School of Chemistry. The lecture, entitled ‘Climate Change: A Pollutant’s Tale’, will form part of MSJ’s Sixth Form Enrichment Programme.
Mrs Olivera Raraty, Headmistress at MSJ, commented, “MSJ does really well with its STEM teaching. There is a common myth that girls’ schools are not as strong in this area, but it speaks for itself that our girls enter and win so many national STEM competitions. Congratulations to the two winners, who now have something really special to add to their UCAS statements and CVs.”